Friday, September 18, 2009

Tasting Notes: Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant 2004

The Bottle: Crazy labeling has been a hallmark of Bonny Doon product. This label tells the story of the vineyard owners in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, who were afraid flying saucers - or "flying cigars" - would harm their vineyards if they attempted to land there. So an ordinance was passed banning such extraterrestrial visitations. Hence the name and the nice artwork on the front, depicting a flying cigar looking for a landing place. Bonny Doon's address is given as "Santa Cruz, CA, USA, Earth," not once but twice. Head Doonster Randall Grahm has a somewhat offbeat sense of humor, for which he is roundly admired. Follow him on Twitter, if you don't already. Nearly all his tweets are worth reading. How did I get so sidetracked? Wasn't I telling you about Le Cigare Volant? Was I just abducted by one? Before I lose the thread again, the abv is 13.5% and the mixture is a fine Rhone style blend of 38% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre, 8% Carignane and 7% Cinsault. Let's get busy before those aliens come back. Oh, I got it on sale at Wally's for $24.

The Nose: The dark, inky wine has a fabulous smell. I get aromas of red berries, cherries - possibly in the form of cherry cola - and some smokey, leathery licorice. There's a sense of tar in there - a very dark and complex nose. Is that what the aliens have come for? I know I would travel far for it.

The Taste: The leathery quality steps in front on the palate. Black cherry follows right behind. That wonderful, dark smokiness lingers on the finish. Dark and delicious, Le Cigare Volant scores one for E.T.

Afterword: Thought I'd mention that the 2004 Le Cigare Volant is mentioned in Food and Wine's October issue as one of the "50 classics you must try."

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